Sunday I (well, mostly Cherub) gathered some locally-grown pumpkins and squashes at a nearby u-pick farm. Since nearly everyone has a gourd or two lying around this time of year, I thought I’d give you some ideas about how you might use them. One minute they’re seasonal decorations on your front porch and the next you’re serving them to party guests. Result!
Today, I used one of those squashes, the demure Carnival, for a posh little party snack. Tonight’s do was hosted by my friend Elpis, and as I’m sure you’re aware, party season is upon us. These nibbles are easy and sure to please, so add this recipe to your arsenal.
The basics are roasted squash, pancetta, parmesan and buttery toast. You can go two ways with this one: quick and dirty or overacheiver. I opted for the overacheiver version for your viewing pleasure, and to encourage you to do the same.
Roasted Carnival Squash Nibbles with Pancetta and Parmesan
1 Carnival squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into large-ish cubes
Olive oil, salt, pepper
Two thick slices of pancetta, diced
Parmesan cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler
Fried sage (optional, but not really)
Two very large slices of a good country bread, buttered and toasted (I used a rosemary olive oil bread)
Place the peeled and cubed squash on a roating pan and drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Slide in a 400˚ oven, and roast for about 3o minutes, or until the squash is tender.
Render cubed pancetta over medium low heat until crispy; drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
Toast buttered bread in a pan over medium heat. Cut into bite sized pieces.
Remove the squash and place in a food processor to puree.
To assemble, spoon a bit of the pureed squash onto each toast, top with a piece of shaved parmesan, a few cubes of pancetta, and some crumbled sage leaves. Serve within an hour.
For the quick and dirty version, top store bought crostini with pureed squash, crumbled bacon (not bacon bits, yo) and the shaved parm.
Party playlist included Pumpkin Soup, by Kate Nash (which incidentally has nothing to do with Pumpkin Soup; when she wrote it, she misfiled it on her computer and kept the name). And old Yazoo (ask Elpis).